If the columned mansion in Duluth’s Sweet Bottom Plantation looks eerily familiar, think back to that last vacation in Southern California.
Did it come to you yet?
It is a replica of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion attraction.
Built in 1996 by Mark Hurt, whose company Constructioneer creates elements for Disney parks and other clients, it is a dead ringer for the mansion, down to the iron porch rails cast by the same foundry the park uses.
“The idea was to have something that just wasn’t a house that anybody had,” Hurt said.
This one does not host 999 happy haunts like the parks’. It is a fully functioning seven-bedroom, six-bath home for Hurt, wife Shawn Anne and son Tyler, but has a few nods to Disney.
A spooky surprise awaits in a bathroom. Turn on the light and cold water faucet, and the lights flicker off. The attraction’s theme music plays as a specter appears in the mirror, an effect Hurt designed himself.
This grim grinning ghost wasn’t the only one socializing in the home when the Hurts lived there. They have moved to new digs in Hawaii, and the home is for sale for $873,000. The family hosted many swinging wakes.
Billy Messina, co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House, and wife Liz got married there. Trick-or-treaters converged annually, where an animatronic Bengal tiger greeted them at the door.
To help sell the house, Hurt teamed with Theme Park Connection, the world’s largest reseller of Disney theme park props and collectibles.
“My company is preserving the history of the work [Hurt] did instead of it being lost as just another home being sold in Atlanta,” said Theme Park Connection owner, Marc Pianko.
The Hurts’ new home is modeled after Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel. A replica of Walt Disney’s barn is in the backyard. A pool based on Disney’s Jungle Cruise is being installed with an animatronic elephant residing in the waterfall.
New digs aside, Hurt said he’ll definitely miss haunting the halls of his former mansion.
“I’m going to miss the times my family had there and all the fun we had at the house,” Hurt said.